Focusing in Ireland

Advanced and Certification Weeklong Reflection - Dublin 2022

Therese Ryan

Week Long Dublin Group

In October 2022 the International Focusing Institute’s Weeklong took place in the Dominican Retreat Centre in Tallaght, Dublin. It was the first time for this event to be held in Ireland. And what a weeklong it was. The theme was Instances of Transformation. We came together from all corners of Ireland as well as the United Kingdom, Holland, Romania, United States and Israel.  

First there was the delight of meeting some Focusing friends in the flesh for the first time, having got to know each other online during the pandemic. And the joy also of making new friends, hearing new ways of Focusing, the ways people are using it in their lives. And the ease and openness that comes in the company of people who know Focusing.

Each day started with a session in our home group. This was a lovely gentle space where we shared and reflected on what was alive for us. We drew and played and danced together. And everything that arrived was held lovingly by the group.

When I realised we were going to be online each afternoon, I was initially disappointed. I wanted to make the most of our in person gathering, but I was pleasantly surprised. The afternoon plenary sessions were wonderful. We gathered with a group attending solely online as well as the other in person group in Connecticut. In breakout rooms we focused with attendees in other locations. These sessions brought an exciting sense of togetherness with the wider weeklong community. And each workshop brought something new, exciting and powerful.

We tried out Cross Lingual Focusing online. I spoke in Irish, my partner spoke in Spanish. The Focusing became more about presence and less about words. We listened and reflected differently using unfamiliar words, and as the Focuser we used gestures to communicate our wishes.

The ABC of Focusing workshop with Dan Schachter blew my mind as we explored moving from our fixed logical way of thinking towards interacting with life in an “about to be changed” way.  In the Thinking at the Edge workshop with Beatrice Blake we invited instances from our felt sense of a situation and allowed new meaning to come alive and flourish. Then on the one day the sun shone, our very own Tom Larkin guided us in a beautiful Focusing in nature workshop in the grounds of the retreat centre. We even managed to Focus in break out rooms on our phones while we were outside. This session finished for me with a profound meeting with a tree.

Each evening we gathered again for informal workshops on Focusing with poetry, the process of Non Violent Communication and the Enneagram. There was lots of laughter and fun, and singsongs accompanied by Caroline on the ukulele. And we had plenty of opportunities to Focus with each other in cosy nooks throughout the building. There was time between sessions for a walk in the beautiful walled garden with its massive 700 year old walnut tree or a meditative journey in the grassy labyrinth. And some of us even came together in the mornings before breakfast for yoga and dancing.

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Something carried forward in our community during the weeklong — from workshops to meals to home groups and informal gatherings. There was a sense of each of us moving forward individually and collectively, agents of transformation, continually changing each other and being changed. And there was such richness in meeting different perspectives and backgrounds and ways of bringing Focusing alive.

On the last day we gathered for a special closing ceremony in a hall carefully strewn with Autumn offerings from the gardens. Five people were presented with certificates. We had an opportunity to walk a path reflecting the development of Focusing itself as well as our own Focusing journey. I left the Weeklong renewed and replenished,  filled with gratitude for Focusing and the wonderful people it has brought into my life. Roll on next year!

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The Irish Participants in Dublin

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Focusing with Nature facilitated by Tom Larkin

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Tom Larkin calling us all back with his special whistle!

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Elaine Goggin and Fiona O'Meara from the Irish Focusing Network received their certificate during the closing cermony.


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